Tembo to back young players even if SuperSport challenge for the league title
SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo intends to keep faith with the emerging young players in his team for the remainder of the season even if they find themselves in the race for the title.
A combination of experienced players and exciting young prospects have propelled Matsatsantsa to second place behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs on the Absa Premiership standings after 14 games this season.
United boast one of the youngest teams in the league with an average age of 26.4 and Tembo said it is their tradition to promote and test players from the youth structures.
The latest starlets to be given their league debuts are attacking midfielders Oswin Appollis and Khanysile Mayo who are aged 18 and 20 respectively.
Appollis made his debut during the 1-1 draw against Stellenbosch FC last month and Mayo‚ who is the son of former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs striker Patrick‚ debuted in the 2-0 win over Highlands Park last week.
“When it comes to youngsters‚ it is the history of the club that we always try to give them opportunities‚” said Tembo.
“Apollis got an opportunity recently because we believe in him and also because we were a little bit short in terms of numbers due to injuries.
"It has always been our policy at the club to try and make sure that we give these talented young players opportunities to prove themselves.”
Some of the key players for Tembo are Teboho Mokoena (22)‚ Sipho Mbule (21)‚ Luke Fleurs (19)‚ Jamie Webber (21)‚ Luke le Roux (19) and Ghampani Lungu (21).
Mokoena and Mbule have established themselves in the team as starting players while Luke Fleurs‚ Webber‚ Le Roux and Lungu are making strong cases for themselves.
“Tebza (Mokoena) and Sipho (Mbule) are key to us this season but I think it’s too early to start talking about the young player of the season award for him (Mbule)‚" he said.
"A lot of things are going to happen between now and at the end of the season.
"I believe he is a very good footballer and has been consistent for us this season‚ that is the reason he has been playing regularly.
"He has been carrying a bit of weight in the previous seasons but the fitness team has done wonders with him.
“He has been playing for 90 minutes and also scoring goals. One goal that comes to mind is the one he scored against Wits in the 90th minute where he made a run into the box to head the ball into the net.
"It shows that he is in a good physical condition.”